Humans dreamed of flight for thousands of years, and the crucial steps in this timeline fueled advances that carried us into the air, and even to the moon.
Before 800 BC The human impulse to fly as archetype: Daedalus and Icarus, a father and son in Greek mythology, fly with wings made of wax and feathers, until Icarus flies too close to the sun—melting the wax—and falls into the sea.
1000-500 BC Kites invented in China are used to carry men scouting enemy troops.
1793 Diego Marín Aguilera—later named the Father of Aviation in Spain—flies his bird-like glider into a crash landing, and perhaps it is in his best interests when the townspeople burn it, calling it demonic.
1869 English publisher Frederick Marriott flies his steam-fueled Avitor Hermes Jr., the first unmanned aircraft to power itself into flight in the United States. As Scientific American reports: “With the first turn of the propellers she rose slowly into the air, gradually increasing her speed until the rate of five miles per hour was attained.”
1969 When Apollo 11 takes the first humans to the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong carries a piece of muslin fabric from the left wing of the original 1903 Wright Flyer and a section of wood from the airplane’s left propeller.